The case of walsall

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Introduction

A literature review is research in the area topic which is gathered by studies that already has been done in the subject area. It allows the understanding of what sustainable rehabilitation is about and further to gain more knowledge on sustainable rehabilitation in de-industrialised cities or towns and to identify how it could possibly be improved. Additionally it is also there to help recognise and distinguish any areas of the chosen subject, which has not been acknowledged. This will be an opportunity to contribute to existing awareness in this topic area.

Sustainability and Urban Development

The chosen area in which the literature review will focus on is sustainable rehabilitation in de-industrialised cities. Firstly, I would like concentrate on understanding the meaning of sustainability. What is sustainability? Sustainability can be defined as or described as the quality of life/lifestyle in a community. It is the prolonged existence and usage of global resources to keep the environment in good shape without jeopardising the future of generations to come. Sustainability arises in three main areas such as environmental aspects, socio economic aspects and economy.

Sustainability in environment focuses on the Earth's natural environment. This aspect of sustainability is directed at the improvements on the environment for better or worse. It also focuses on the use of natural resources. Additionally it is combined with the other two factors social and economic aspects. Social development usually refers to improvements in both individual well-being and the overall social welfare, that result from increases in social capital - typically, the accumulation of capacity for individuals and groups of people to work together to achieve shared objectives . Sustainable development should or ought to preserve and enhance all useful capital stocks which include natural capital. However the preservation of capacities of an individual obtained through education and shared perceptive and values and socially held knowledge are similarly important. Reducing vulnerability and maintaining the health (i.e., resilience, vigor and organization) of social and cultural systems, and their ability to withstand shocks, is important. Enhancing human capital (through education) and strengthening social values, institutions and equity will improve the resilience of social systems and governance. Many such harmful changes occur slowly, and their long-term effects are overlooked in socio-economic analysis. (Munasinghe 2007)

Economic sustainability seeks to maximize the flow of income that could be generated while at least maintaining the stock of assets (or capital) which yields this income. Hicks 1946 argued that people's maximum sustainable consumption is the amount that they can consume without impoverishing themselves.

Addressing these three factors to improve economy, social and environmental issues cannot be addressed separately. The reason for this is because solutions to one problem may lead to a further problem in another. For example creating or developing affordable housing can be a good cause however if the housing is built far from workplaces or transport links it becomes a problem which may lead to an increase in vehicle usage, pollution and traffic. Therefore to create a sustainable community all these links need to be taken into account with one another.

The Brundtland Commission formally known as the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) was created to make people aware of and address the problem involving the decline of the human environment and natural resources. (Wikipedia, 2009) The commission was set up by the United Nations to look at the environmental issue which was known as the Brundtland report.

This report came up with the term 'Sustainable Development' which is defined as:

'Sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'. (WCED, 1987)

Presumably this statement suggests that focusing on current generation groups to use resources which won't prevent future generations from living their own lives.

Sustainable development is also a fixed goal of authority and the general public. The belief signifies a matter needed to be addressed for the future in terms of welfare and prospects for future development. However the matter of sustainable development seems far from solved, especially in this economic crisis where once the availability of capital for regeneration and renewal is now not readily obtainable.

Urban growth was one of the most powerful and pervasive geographical processes affecting the western world in the middle of the twentieth century, each year the number of people and jobs in the cities rose and the major metropolitan centres consolidated and enhanced their share of national population and economic activity. Growth further occurred in areal terms as cities expanded their suburbs into the surrounding countryside. Conversely, villages and small towns had little locational appeal both for residential purposes and for industry, so that extensive rural areas were characterised by stagnation and decline. Established cities throughout the western world are losing population and jobs as the balance of social and economic opportunity has moved away from cities and in favour of rural areas.

There are many factors today that are indicators of deterioration such as inner urban decay, crime, unemployment. These indicators are of social economic, political and financial fabric of the city to create a de-industrialised city.

The economic crisis of today will affect the sustainability plan. However there might be positive outcomes of this crisis directed to green companies as they can take the opportunity to use the media as a way of showing the public new strategies of becoming more 'sustainable'. This way of thinking could possibly 'restore a degree of public confidence in a private sector that has seen its credibility take a severe battering in recent months. Thus, highlighting long-term environmental considerations is crucially important.

It may be said that this is only expressing only a small degree of the economical crisis of how it affects sustainable factors, however John Whalley from The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) suggests that having a balance between both Environmental objectives and economic objectives is important during this financial crisis. Therefore looking at both aspects of the financial crisis could possibly aid today's sustainable development in cities under the economic slowdown.

The economic recession slowly slipped up at the beginning of the year 2008 which has now turned into a prolonged period. (Coaffee 2009) states that the finance available for regeneration is likely to be significantly curtailed, at least from traditional sources, with many semi- completed regeneration schemes mothballed.

Therefore Coaffee 2009 suggests also that this year capital for regeneration is likely to be restricted in use especially with traditional sources however large scale regeneration projects have not been put to a halt but been slowed down perhaps to find thought through solutions to survive the economic downturn. Although the CIGI believe that keeping both elements of economic and financial objectives in mind is essential at this time.

Sustainable Rehabilitation and Urban Renewal

Sustainable rehabilitation focuses on the 'treatment' of towns or cities which were highly developed with industry how are no longer surviving. In addition the need to improve economic growth is crucial to meet the demands of social and environmental elements. In the issue of Urban Studies in 2006 states that it is difficult to define with clarity what urban revival. (Governa, 2009) The common element that links together the various meanings is that the urban resurgence is defined against, in opposition to a period of decline. For many years within Europe, cities were identified as the places typically facing the greatest economic and social problems (Turok and Mykhnenko, 2007) . Nevertheless cities simultaneously strive to reconcile economic growth, dynamism and creativity with the ugly spectre of social and spatial exclusion and increasing levels of segregation and inequality. This statement suggests that cities make every effort to resolve economic growth and activity with the unpleasant factor of social segregation and discrimination but also with the prevention of space. Perhaps it indicates that cities are trying to improve the competition they have with each other but at the same time they are trying to meet the social and environmental demands they face.

In contrast Turok's and Mykhnenko's view now suggests that cities are currently seen as 'drivers of innovation, creativity and productivity growth in advanced service- oriented economics'. (Turok and Mykhnenko, 2008)

Therefore Turok and Mykhnenko's statement identify that innovation and advanced communications are primary motives of today's cities enabling people and to work together, creating an active city that drives creativity, draws mobile capital and ability, and forms expansion from within.

Additionally cities are also thought to contain the cultural vitality, social infrastructure, consumer amenities and career choices to help regions and nations attract the skills and talent required to generate and exploit knowledge and thereby build dynamic competitive advantage (HM Treasury 2006, OECD 2006).

When new towns are developed or built, they are usually thoughtfully designed to be near or in proximity of existing or neighbouring cities and towns. This then enables the fringe or border of the new towns to merge with the existing towns and cities. Additionally transport links establish connections between the cities or towns making the land more popular to develop increasing the stretch of land.

Urban decay seems to be a natural consequence of the growth of a city. Khakis statement directly concerns the decay of cities to be a natural effect. However there might be a number of factors which cause cities to decay. Perhaps aspects such as abandonment of building, high rate of unemployment, crime, depopulation and many others can cause this issue to spread over a city or town.

Urban renewal is a procedure which occurs by declining structures which are enhanced or bettered through a variety of technique which range from building modernisation to redevelopment and refurbishing.

Through comprehensive and integrated vision and action, urban renewal aims to resolve urban problems and bring about an enduring improvement in the economic, physical, social and environmental conditions of a blighted area which has been subject to change.

The built environment is a product of an incremental decision-making process. Rehabilitation, however, offers a cheaper, quicker and less socially disturbing option to improve the quality of building stock.

From the environmental perspective, rehabilitation is a more sustainable approach to urban renewal because rehabilitation generates less construction and demolition waste compared with redevelopment.

An example of a city which has faced both decline and renewal is Glasgow. The city suffered from the Post World War I recession and also faced the 'Great Depression'. This was a period during the 1930's where the entire world suffered from severe economic depression. Although the city faced these issues it improved by the epidemic of World War II.

Glasgow had a lack of investment and innovation which naturally led to these factors to grow overseas such as Japan. This resulted in Glasgow to enter a long period of economic decline and 'de-industrialisation'. When something as severe as this affects a city it leads to high levels of unemployment, urban decay and a major decrease in population.

In Western Europe, where land is much less in supply and urban areas are generally recognised as the drivers of the new information and service economies, urban regeneration has become an industry in itself, with hundreds of agencies and charities set up to tackle the issue. European cities have the benefit of historical organic development patterns already concurrent to the New Urbanist model, and although derelict, most cities have attractive historical quarters and buildings ripe for redevelopment. In the suburban estates and cities, the solution is often more drastic, with 1960s and 70s state housing projects being totally demolished and rebuilt in a more traditional European urban style, with a mix of housing types, sizes, prices, and tenures, as well as a mix of other uses such as retail or commercial. One of the best examples of this is in Hulme, Manchester, which was cleared of 19th-century housing in the 1950s to make way for a large estate of high-rise flats. During the 1990s, it was cleared again to make way for new development built along new urbanist lines.

Causes of Decline

Most studies of urban change, decay or decline concentrate on the consequences of urban transformation rather than their underlying causes.

The end result is that most theories of urban change provide only a partial insight into what is a complex process. (Roberts 2000)

Robert indicates that urban change or decline has only been researched to a degree however it is a very complex topic area and procedure. He also indentifies that the research done stresses 'negative demographic and social trends and the causal role of economic factors particularly industrial restructuring in pursuit of maximising returns including deindustrialisation, globalisation and economic concentration as forces for economic structural change and the problems of adapting to new demands of economic activities and factor constraints (including availability of land and buildings).'

The way cities and towns are involved economic structural change vary. The local economy and economical structure of the town is usually governed by large businesses. Depending on how innovative or 'new' the product of the business is, innovation plays an important part. This is because if the job type requires a high skilled person to work, this normally leads to a lower local economy as not everyone has the skills needed for the job. Therefore the large scale industries are the businesses to face the largest possibility of economic decline which leads to de-industrialisation.

Urban Regeneration

Urban Regeneration is also referred to as Urban Renewal transpires when the social, economic and physical characteristics of neglected areas have been improved and reconstructed using a strategy which will plan to improve an area. A typical regeneration development is normally housing developments, dock side or waterside development projects.

Urban Regeneration not only focuses on the physical side on the area but also embarks upon the social and economic issues present as well. However Urban Regeneration projects require extensive financial input from both public and private sectors.

Lang 2005 believes that 'Urban Regeneration implies an integrated perspective on problems, potentials, strategies and projects within the social, environmental, cultural and economic sphere.

This statement shows that Lang assumes that these factors which are incorporated with Urban Regeneration are social, environmental and economic factors. These factors are similarly driven by Sustainability as well.

Furthermore Roberts 2000 defines Urban Regeneration as a' comprehensive and integrated vision and action which leads to the resolution of urban problems and which seeks to bring about a lasting improvement in the economic, physical, social and environmental condition of an area that has been subject to change'.

However the official definition of Regeneration from the Office of Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) is: 'the holistic process of reversing economics, social and physical decay in areas where it has reached a stage when market forces alone will not suffice'. (ODPM 2003)

Therefore regeneration forms part of one of the three areas of legal act. This is now where Urban Regeneration moves away from renewal, development and revitalisation. Robert 2000 believes that Urban Regeneration implies that all approaches should be constructed with a longer-term, more strategic purpose in mind'. Therefore there should be a strategic agenda to why the regeneration should take place which are seen as central features.

There is another definition described by Couch and Fraser 2003 who explain that 'Urban Regeneration is concerned with in re-growth of economic activity where it has been lost; the restoration of social function where there has been dysfunction, or social inclusion where there has been exclusion; and the restoration of environmental quality or ecological balance where it has been lost'. This outlook would perhaps work where there is vacant or derelict land in which new building could be built however Urban Regeneration is about applying strategies in existing areas rather than creating new towns and cities. This could then adapt the three factors of sustainability, a requirement to social, economic and environmental issues.

Understanding the purpose of Urban Regeneration in the UK, one needs to understand the policies which are set in the UK. 'Regeneration is seen as a step forward from the commercial style of the redevelopment policy in the 1980's, where the Conservative government has consciously imitated the American strategy of relying on private market mechanisms rather than upon public intervention to revitalise its cities and urban areas.'(Parkinson, Judd 1988)

Roberts 2000 believes that 'Urban Regeneration can be delivered as a comprehensive and integrated vision and action which leads to the resolution of urban problems and which seeks to bring about a lasting improvements in the economic, physical, social and environmental condition of an area that has been subject to change'.

Therefore the three main points that involve regeneration are the economic, social and environmental state of an area. However the question is what is economic, social and environmental decay?

Urban regeneration follows through and beyond the process of physical change, urban development and urban revitalisation. Roberts 2000 believes that Urban Regeneration implies that 'all approaches should be constructed with a longer term, more strategic purpose in mind' meaning that when planning or building methods to develop regeneration, it is important to keep in mind a more tactical purpose where the long term effects are positive.

Neighborhood Renewal aims to improve the quality of life for those living in the most disadvantaged areas by tackling, Poor job prospects, High crime levels, Educational under-achievement, poor health and problems with housing and their local environment .(Communities and Local Government UK)

The poorest of neighborhoods are faced with or more likely to suffer with ill health, crime and even unemployment. Therefore Neighborhood renewal is to spiral out of the decay and bring back life into the community. It is about working from the grassroots to deliver economic prosperity and jobs, safer communities, good education, decent housing, improved physical environment and better health, as well as fostering a sense of community among residents.' (Communities and Local Government 2007)

Poverty has become more concentrated in individual neighbourhoods and estates than before, and the social exclusion of these neighbourhoods has become more marked. (Social Exclusion Unit 2000)

Deprivation also works against efforts to revive cities and protect the countryside from development. Poor services undermine faith in the political process. And there is an effect on social cohesion as young people and people from ethnic minorities are both disproportionately likely to live in deprived neighbourhoods (people from ethnic minorities are over-represented four-fold). (Social Exclusion Unit 2000).Therefore the efforts to revive a city or area can also cause deprivation. Poor facilities and assistance can lead to peoples trust in the political system weak and deteriorate. Neighbourhood renewal is about connecting communities together.

Regeneration has become a tool applied to almost all urban areas in the UK, accelerating in the past decade in parallel to raid growth in the property market. (Urban Regeneration in the UK)

The frenzy of building in the UK towns and cities is not simply a product of economic growth, but reflects broader demographic shifts with in the UK population. People are living longer than ever before and at the other end of the age scale, people are waiting longer to have children, both of which mean a decrease in average household size which, combined with growing population, means that the number of households is increasingly rapid. As a result, the number of households in England alone is predicted to rise from just over 21 million in 2004 to nearly 26.5 million in 2029 with 70% of that increase taking the form of one person households. (Communities and Local Government, 2007)

Culture- led regeneration and case study

Culture- led regeneration projects are involved with the social welfare and the renewal of communities linking public art and cultural development. However since the 1980s, a number of local authorities have adopted some form of percent for art scheme, whereby all new buildings incorporate a quota of artwork. Public artwork has impacted and attracted many visitors which have become part of the tourist and heritage industry.

Regeneration through art really works, but we will need to look at it in 20 years time to judge it. (Peter Jenkinson) The true regeneration is the regeneration of local people's hearts and minds.(David March, and Peter Jenkinson, Director of New Art Gallery, Walsall)

This type of regeneration or activity might be the design and construction (or re-use) of a buildings for public or business use (e.g. Baltic and Sage Music Centre in Gateshead, Tate Modern and Peckham Library in Southwark; the reclamation of open space (e.g. Gateshead, Liverpool, etc)

Culture-led regeneration can be understood as the use of cultural projects to revitalise economically depressed cities and regions. (Middleton and Freestone 2008)

Culture-led regeneration has been used extensively around Europe (Gomez 1998; Keating and De Frantz, 2004; Miles, 2005) Examples of Culture-led Regeneration in the UK consist of the Tate Modern and Renzo Piano's 'Shard of Glass' on the London Docklands, the Millennium Galleries and Winter Garden in Sheffield and redevelopment of Salford Quays.

There has been enough evidence to show that many cultural-led regeneration programmes have been unsuccessful. Glasgow is often mentioned as a prime example. Jenkins 2005 states that the city used its status as European Capital of Culture 1990 to hide its working class heritage and socialist history causing resentment and hostility amongst many inhabitants. Doucet (2007) also suggests that cultural regeneration can encounter problems if it is not supported by residents, particularly those with a strong sense of local identity.

One study which was based around cultural-led Regeneration was taken on Newcastle Gateshead scheme. The councils of Newcastle worked together to promote cultural marketing to aim to place Newcastle Gateshead as a top European destination for leisure, business and tourism to create a new identity for Tyneside and the wider region.

During this period of culture-led regeneration the aspects of the night-time economy which promote the social consumption of alcohol have been marginalised. Indeed some local politicians have publicly condemned Newcastle's image as a 'Party City' stating problems with health, crime and alcohol related disorder. Writing in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle in February 2008 (p. 45), Coun. John Shipley stated that:

The image of Newcastle as having an evening economy based on alcohol consumption should be a thing of the past...it's very important we create a café-style culture...we are trying to change Newcastle's image to one that is inclusive for everyone.

The adoption of such strategies in Newcastle and Gateshead can be seen as a clear attempt to move away from the region's working-class industrial image and create a new cosmopolitan, international identity rich in culture, science and technology. Even the NewcastleGateshead's failed bid for European Capital of Culture 2008 has done little to slow the pace of change and level of investment in cultural projects throughout the region.

During the method of this case study the approach taken to conduct results was a quantitative method. Fifty-two interviews were carried out with members from all four boroughs of Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside and South Tyneside. The interviews remained informal but very structured focusing on the research topic. Their main research question was based around:

  • The changing nature of the socio-economic landscape of Tyneside.
  • The identity of regions and how it has changed over the years
  • and thirdly The opinions on recent cultural and scientific developments

Respondents clearly felt that culture-led regeneration developments had a narrow focus on a professional middle-income, middle-class demographic, therefore excluding a large proportion of lower-income people from the region. In this context they did not see culture-led regeneration as benefiting them in any way and that culture-led regeneration effectively existed for other people, a view similar to that proposed by Peter Eisinger's (2000) in his study of cities in the US.

People may have developments taking place in their city under culture-led regeneration schemes, but do not necessarily feel that they benefit anything from this. Whilst Miles (2004) believes that Newcastle and Gateshead provides the environment for the cultural events and developments to sit happily alongside the traditional night time economy, this research suggests that this is not necessarily the case. Local inhabitants with a strong sense of local identity are becoming increasingly disenfranchised with cultural developments and, as experienced in Glasgow, may well become more vocal in their criticisms. Miles, S. (2004) 'NewcatleGateshead Quayside: Cultural investment and identities of resistance', Capital & Class, 81, pp.183-189.

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